Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota
James, The Things They Carry

The Things They Carry: James

Added on Monday, December 18, 2017

Homeless youth carry heavy things that can’t fit into a backpack. They carry the loneliness of being ignored, the heartache of being abandoned, and the anxiety of having to fend for themselves. The Things They Carry is a four-part series about how The Salvation Army is helping homeless youth in the Twin Cities. You can help them too by giving at a kettle or becoming a bell ringer.  

James lives at a Salvation Army youth housing facility in St. Paul.

He carries the burden of helplessness.

“I didn’t really have (a childhood) due to the fact that I didn’t have any choice in my life,” the 18-year-old said. “My life was governed by others. I did what I had to do to survive.”

Prior to arriving at The Salvation Army, James had been homeless for an undisclosed amount of time.

Booth Brown HouseJames grew up in St. Paul, not far from where he’s living now – The Salvation Army Booth Brown House youth housing facility (pictured). He is one of 25 youth ages 18–24 enrolled in the facility’s Permanent Supportive Housing program, which provides long-term housing and endless support from Salvation Army caseworkers.

Slowly but surely, James’ feelings of helplessness are beginning to fade. They are being replaced with feelings of empowerment.

“I’ve had a bunch of little accomplishments that have added up,” James said proudly. “I’ve opened up a bank account, gotten a credit card, and obtained a new job. And I’ve been working on music.”

He loves making music. He does it every morning when he wakes up, and every night before he goes to bed.

He also loves his Salvation Army caseworkers. He views them as role models.

“They actually care,” James said. “They are like what parents should be when raising children.”

James has been living at Booth Brown House since September. He is thankful for the place and wants to stay there for the foreseeable future.

“My goal is to keep my apartment,” said James, who pays rent on a sliding scale. “I like the things that Booth Brown House has to offer. The best part of being here is how manageable it is for me.”

Poverty is an everyday battle. People experiencing poverty are not without hope – their lives are just harder than they should be. The Salvation Army is helping to make their lives a little easier, thanks to your gifts of time and money. Join us in the fight for good by giving online or donating at a red kettle, becoming a volunteer bell ringer, or recruiting your own army as a fundraiser on Learn more about how The Salvation Army fights poverty in your community.

Real name changed. Photo for illustrative purposes.